Good Sleeping Posture Helps Your Back

By Garner, Julie

Most everyone knows that good posture is important, but good posture doesn't apply just to sitting and standing. In order to protect your back, good posture is important while sleeping. Here are some tips about back safety during sleep:

  1. Ask your doctor or physical therapist to recommend the type of mattress that would be best for you.
  2. Regardless of your sleeping position, keep your ears, shoulders, and hips aligned.
  3. If you sleep on your back, you should keep your knees bent by using a pillow for support under your knees.
  4. Sleeping on your stomach can create stress on the back because the spine can be put out of alignment. Placing a small pillow under the stomach/pelvis area can help to keep the spine in better alignment. If you sleep on your stomach, you may find that a pillow under your head causes too much strain on the back; you may need to sleep without a pillow under your head in this case.
  5. If you sleep on your side, place a pillow under your knees. Pull your knees up slightly toward your chest.
  6. Insert pillows into gaps between your body and the mattress.
  7. When turning in bed, remember not to twist or bend at the waist but to move your entire body as one unit. Keep your abdomen pulled in and tightened and bend your knees toward the chest when you roll.
  8. Keep your ears, shoulders, and hips aligned when turning as well as when sleeping.
Medical Reviewer: [Akin, Louise RN BSN, Foster, Sara RN MPH] Last Annual Review Date: 2011-04-18T00:00:00-06:00 Copyright: © 2000-2010 The StayWell Company, 780 Township Line Road, Yardley, PA 19067. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.

Reference: Arthritis section on Better Medicine

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25% of US adults experience at least 1 day of back pain in a 3-month period.